The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church joins the world in protesting the decision to make one of the most historic masterpieces of Christendom, into a mosque. Hagia Sophia has been a sacred place of significant importance for the Orthodox Church, especially the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The benevolence of the Turkish government has ensured this sacred place to be preserved as a museum for all generations, irrespective of faith to enjoy. The recent decision to convert Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque destroys the very message of tolerance which it stood for. The Northeast American Diocese joins the millions of Christians and other secular-minded people throughout the world, as we grieve over such a devastating decision. The Northeast American Diocese joins our brothers and sisters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and other Christian denominations, in observing a “Day of Mourning” on Friday, July 24, 2020. Our Diocesan clergy and faithful stand against this act of religious aggression and pray sober minds will prevail over such acts of aggression.
Our Church requests President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to reconsider his painful decision, and return to the status quo which Hagia Sophia remains as a museum. This is a place to celebrate religious pluralism in Turkey, and as a wonderful example to the world. The Malankara Church prays that this symbol of peace and co-existence will be permitted to continue, so all people can celebrate the rich history of Hagia Sophia.